09 August 2020
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Monday, 25 March 2019 08:38

Ministry to remove barriers on education

Written by  Solister Mogha
Minister of Education, Science and Technology: Bright Msaka - File Photo Minister of Education, Science and Technology: Bright Msaka - File Photo

Blantyre, March 24, 2019: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology says it will remove all barriers that make secondary education expensive for girls and boys, particularly those from poor communities.

Minister responsible, Bright Msaka, disclosed the development on Friday at Chinamvuwu Primary School in Blantyre during the official launch of the Education Trust Fund.

The fund aims at assisting vulnerable children through payment of their school fees and for all the necessary school items for their better education.

Msaka said it was disheartening to see many children in the country, especially those from poor families, dropping out of school because their parents cannot pay school fees and provide them with the necessary support.

He said that was why government was working towards removing barriers that impede children in Malawi from continuing with education.

“Though government has removed the textbook and general purpose fund, there are still some barriers that need to be completely removed to make secondary education more accessible to Malawians.

“Many students cannot continue with education because parents cannot buy school uniforms and provide all the required materials to their children.
“It is therefore our wish as government to ensure that secondary education becomes accessible and that everyone who enrols in secondary school completes up to form four level,” said Msaka.

The minister then commended UNICEF and other partners for establishing the Education Trust Fund which he said would give opportunity to vulnerable children to complete their education without difficulties.

“It is pleasing to note that as we work on how best to improve education in secondary school, some organisations have already started pulling resources together with to keep Malawian children in school.
“This is a welcome development and as government, we really appreciate the efforts,” he said.

The Education Minister promised government would also construct many school blocks to ensure suitable environment for education and also provide the schools with adequate teaching and learning materials in addition to providing schools with qualified teachers.

UNICEF Country Representative, Johannes Wedenig said the organisation decided to be part of the partners advocating for the Education Trust Fund after realising the alarming dropout rate in secondary schools.

“Malawi continues to grapple with challenges which have potential to derail the girl child from realising her dreams.
“Very low transition rate from primary to secondary school has serious macro-economic consequences for Malawi and we believe efforts such as removal of secondary school fees will help in addressing the bottlenecks.
“The scholarship Trust Fund will continue to cushion students from economic barriers met through the basic school fee waiver and will go a long way in guaranteeing quality education,” Wedenig said.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has appealed to the corporate world to support the initiative.
Patricia Kumpunda, one of the beneficiaries of the scholarship from Chinamvuwu Community Day Secondary School expressed gratitude for the support, saying it had energised her efforts to work harder and achieve her goals.

“Life was tough for me because I could sometimes miss classes because my parents could not pay school fees and provide me with all what I needed.
“Today, I am grateful for the scholarship and now I know that my future is bright,” she said.

The established Education Trust Fund is expected to cater for all needy students in Malawi and over 25 children have already started benefiting from the programme.

Over K3 million has already been raised from individuals in Malawi as well as companies while UNICEF has promised to contribute US$D I million (about K730 million) towards the fund yearly.


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